August 19, 2009


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Bethany Shively, 202-347-0228 or

Heather Vaughan, 202-347-0228 or


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Local Cattle Industry Leader Selected for National Leadership Conference


Rod Wesselman of Moses Lake, Washington was one of 53 young cattle producers selected to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) 30th Annual Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). The YCC program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of beef industry sectors, created to enhance leadership skills in young cattle producers.


“YCC is a prestigious and competitive program designed to foster the future leadership of our industry,” says Forrest Roberts, CEO of NCBA. “The participants selected to attend YCC were chosen because of their exceptional contributions to the beef industry and their potential to be a strong voice in our future development. I look forward to seeing Rod take an increased leadership role within NCBA and the beef industry.”


Wesselman graduated from Washington State University with a degree in General Agriculture and a Minor in Animal Sciences. He is currently a Regional Manager for the American Angus Association and covers the territory of Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Additionally, Wesselman is involved in the Washington Cattlemen’s Association and serves as a Director on the Board of Directors representing the Allied Industries Committee, Breeds Committee, and helps with the Endowment Trust Fund.


“This was a tremendous opportunity to learn every aspect of the beef production chain,” says Wesselman. “I feel more prepared to address the challenges facing our industry after having gone through this program.” 


The tour is sponsored by the NCBA, state and breed affiliates, Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding and John Deere. Most participants were nominated by their respective NCBA affiliates. Additional cattle and beef industry representatives also attended.


The eight day tour began at NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo. where participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program. While in Denver, the group also toured a new Safeway retail store and learned about Rancher’s Reserve brand beef marketing efforts.

Upon leaving Colorado, the group stopped in Ulysses, Kan., home of Grant County Feeders, a 119,000 head feed yard. After an extensive tour of the feeding operation and feed mill, the group traveled to Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. in South Sioux City, Neb., for a tour of its newly expanded, 5,000-head per day processing plant. The plant offered a fascinating look at a very modern and worker-friendly production line. The group also toured the adjacent hide tannery, for a chance to learn about the added value leather processing brings to the cattle industry.

“It is really important for the participants to see the range of beef production—from a cow/calf ranch to a feedlot and a processing plant,” says Wesselman. “It drives home the point that our industry, though composed of many sectors, is ultimately interconnected in our efforts to produce wholesome and nutritious beef.”

In Chicago, the group met with the senior management of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at the Chicago Board of Trade. They had the chance to watch the activity on the floor and witness futures trading firsthand. Participants also visited The Bruss Company, a beef product fabrication facility. This tour offered a view of how boxed beef is turned into custom order portions for both major restaurant chains and some of the nation’s top steakhouses.

The group then traveled to Washington, D.C., where participants were greeted at a reception hosted by John Deere. The following morning, the group received an issues briefing from NCBA’s government relations staff about policy issues currently facing the cattle industry.

Later in the day, these future leaders were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s Congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. During their Congressional visits, participants focused on issues like the Clean Water Restoration Act, animal identification and food safety legislation.

The group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations. 

YCC participants met with several top officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) including Senior Advisor to the Secretary David Lazarus. The group enjoyed a lunch hosted by the Canadian Embassy. The Embassy also offered a briefing on the important trade relationship between the United States and Canada. The group wrapped up the trip later in the evening at the Potomac River Marina, which included an auction in support of the NCBA Political Action Committee.

For more information on the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference or to nominate someone for next year’s tour, contact your state cattlemen’s association or Marvin Kokes at 303-850-3339 or




The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy.  As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.  Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or